Westfalische Wilhelms University of Munster is using Bitplane Imaris Software to visualise effect of Neurobeachin on differentiation of synapses
One of the challenges facing neuroscience researchers is understanding how nerve cells contact each other to transmit information and which proteins and mechanisms control the formation and function of these synaptic contacts.
Most excitatory synapses in the brain are built on actin-rich dendritic protrusions called spines and, as numerous psychiatric and neurological diseases are accompanied by alterations of spine numbers or size, the elucidation of mechanisms that regulate formation and plasticity of spinous synapses is vital.
Bitplane’s advanced Imaris software has enabled a group led by Professor Markus Missler to show that the loss of the protein ’neurobeachin’ (Nbea) not only disrupts signalling within the neuron but also leads to reduced numbers of spines and the mislocalisation of another common spine protein, synaptopodin.
Dr Katharina Niesmann of Westfalische Wilhelms University of Munster used cultured primary nerve cells from the hippocampus of mouse brains for the study.
Multicolour labelling followed by observation under epifluorescence and confocal light microscopy enabled the team to study the differentiation of synapses between these cells and observe the effect of Nbea.
“These findings were both unexpected and striking”, said Prof Missler “Therefore, we looked for a way of visualising this data in a comprehensive way”.
“We found the ’ImarisFilamentTracer’ module of the Imaris suite, which was specifically developed for the purpose of analysing and illustrating dendrites as well as spines, invaluable.”
ImarisFilamentTracer is one of a range of several specialist modules, including ImarisTrack, ImaricVantage and ImarisMeasurementPro, that deliver additional flexibility.